Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Crock Pot Recipes
While we love to relish in the fancy display of plated French cuisine, sometimes there is nothing that says “Winter” as much as a real good crock pot recipe. It provides the comfort of being ready when we get home, of needing minimum attention and of providing the utmost tenderness when we feed it the touch and cheap cuts of meat that our budget allows.
Since no benefit comes single handed, crock-pot recipes or slow cooker recipes as they are now called, often are better when cooked in larger quantities. A few weeks ago, in one of our planning sessions, we listed the advantages of being prepared and having instant meals available when hunger strikes and when we are the most vulnerable to grabbing the closest or most immediate food, when that is not always the best choice for us to persist in the benefits of the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet. The crock-pot will come to your rescue as you can easily serve your meal and place the remainder in portion sized containers and place them in your freezer, ready to come to your rescue when emergency strikes.
Some of our favorite foods are comfort foods: the ones we eat with a broken heart, a sniffle or a really good case of the flu. Make them available to you and enjoy them immediately or later. Just knowing that they are waiting for you if you need them will ease the desperate tension of an averted catastrophe.
I have attached three recipes that are so easy to prepare and to freeze. They are also the ones you can take to a potluck to make sure you have something to eat that fits your new diet.
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup uncooked whole-grain brown rice
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup almonds
In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk, rice and salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg and agave syrup until well mixed. Add a half cup of the hot rice mixture to the egg mixture, a tablespoon at a time, vigorously whisking to incorporate.
Add egg mixture back into the saucepan of rice and milk and stir, on low heat, for 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened, or about 160 degrees. Be careful not to have the mixture come to a boil at this point or it will curdle. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from heat.
Place the whole almonds in a pan over medium heat. Stirring carefully (burning is quick to happen because of the almond’s high content in oils), heat the almonds until they become fragrant and lightly change in color. Remove from heat and place immediately on a chopping board. Chop coarsely and sprinkle on top of the rice.
Serve warm or cold.
3 pounds skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup green olives
1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Couscous as a side
1. In a large bowl, toss the chicken thighs with the onion, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the chicken and onions to a slow cooker. Add the bay leaf and chicken broth, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir in the chickpeas, olives and apricots, cover and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the apricots are plump, about 1 hour. Remove the bay leaf and season the juices with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds in a pie plate and toast for about 7 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden.
3. Spoon the chicken and juices into shallow bowls, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.
Serve with couscous.
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped
1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinches of cayenne
1 and 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
3 16-oz bags of organic, chopped spinach – thawed
1/2 to 1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Squeeze the liquid from the thawed spinach, handful by handful. Set aside.
Heat milk to simmer in saucepan.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add onions and cook until wilted but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the hot milk and whisk the sauce until it thickens. Add the nutmeg and cayenne. Turn off the heat.
Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Taste and correct seasoning. Add the spinach and mix in well.
Pour into a 9X11-in glass or ceramic baking dish. Prepare crumb topping.
Melt butter in medium skillet. Add panko, sprinkle with sea salt and stir until lightly toasted. This occurs quite suddenly.
Gently smooth the toasted panko on top of the gratin. Cook for 30-35 minutes until bubbling.